The Big Koala

263 km from Melbourne and 3,156 km from Perth sits the Big Koala. After finding Larry the Big Lobster on our earlier travels (seen here) we decided to make a point to stop at all the “big” things that we saw. On our first day of driving we found this guy and pulled over to take some quick snaps before heading off towards Perth.

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The Great Alpine Road

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Many people have heard of the Great Ocean Road road-trip (you can check out our trip here and here) but far less people opt to travel the inland version. The Great Alpine Road takes you through some of Victoria’s mountains, winding its way through the countryside before returning you to the coast. With our time in Melbourne coming to an end, I managed to score a full weekend off work (I had had one full weekend off in four months!) and we decided to go on a road trip to explore Victoria. After hearing our plan, the rest of the house joined us on our tour of the Great Alpine Road. We spent the nights camped out in the bush and the days driving through rural towns. It seemed weird that just a few hours from Melbourne we could find ourselves in the snow-capped mountains and if we drove a few hours further, we’d be back to sunning ourselves at the beaches of Lakes Entrance.

P.S. Apologies for the poor quality of the group photo, we took it on a phone rather than a camera. Pretty spur of the moment!

Melbourne

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Don’t panic, we are both fine. Sorry for the silence over the last few months, we have been caught up in the chore of earning dollar. To make up for going MIA for so long I thought I’d take a moment to fill you in on what we got up to during our stay in Melbourne. When we arrived in Melbourne I knew we’d planned on staying a while to save up money to continue with our travels but I didn’t know just how much I would love Melbourne as a city.

After our house-sit in the western suburbs ended, we moved across the West Gate Bridge and into a share house in the suburb of Caulfield North. It was a rather large share house, at one point there were 14 of us, with a retro (read outdated and untidy) vibe. We lived there for three months and had lots of fun with everyone and soon felt like part of the furniture. Our room was nice and cheap, $250 a week for a large double, with ensuite and walk in robes and that price included all our bills, water and “internet”. The internet was pretty poor though as my parents soon found out during our attempts to Skype. If it wasn’t the internet then someone was watching the TV at full volume or wandering into view in just their pants to get something from the fridge. We didn’t Skype often.

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For work, Jack quickly got a job labouring on construction sites, working full time at a site near Doncaster. Meanwhile I was making my way through jobs… I never thought that in five months I would end up having three different jobs. My first job was fundraising for a charity. Commission only, walking round industrial estates asking people for credit card details. I gave it two weeks before looking for something else. My next job was stopping people in shopping centres, finding out how many halogen downlights they had installed, before grabbing their phone number for a quote to change to LEDs. This time I did have a base wage, but at only $85 a day it wasn’t really helping me to contribute much to our savings, despite working six days a week. After two months I was searching for something better again. I found it in a bar in the city centre.

Whilst I was going through jobs, Jack stayed labouring on the same site for several months. When the foreman injured his back, he found himself pretty much running the show. Although the company sent in a replacement foreman, it was Jack who opened and closed the site, sometimes not getting home till 10pm. When the site began falling behind schedule, he worked solidly for two weeks. Great for the savings, not great for Jack. All the overtime had taken its toll and Jack was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. Despite being given the all clear to work from the doctor (his hernia didn’t have intestines protruding through and didn’t need urgent surgery), the site he had worked so hard on didn’t want him back knowing that he had a hernia and the agency wouldn’t cover his loss of wages as there was no proof that the hernia was caused by the work. With Jack unable to work for the company and facing at least a two month wait for surgery we decided to leave Melbourne at the end of the month.

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For our final month in Melbourne I pulled as many hours as I could at the bar, while Jack was able to find some work laying vinyl. Which like anything he turns his hand to, he surpassed in. When it soon came time to leave Melbourne, I found myself not wanting to. Despite knowing we were heading off on an amazing trip, Melbourne had quickly become a home. The people I worked with were amazing and made me feel as if I’d always known them. I loved going into the city for work and was no longer fazed by the Melbourne right turn (you turn right from the left lane, which causes a lot of confusion to many people, including the guy who crashed his car into ours but that’s all fixed and no one was hurt). The night before we left, we ventured into the city to say goodbye to everyone I’d worked with, leaving at 3am with Polaroids and promises to stay in touch. After spending five months in Melbourne I would happily move back there. I already miss it.

Hosier Lane

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Melbourne’s city centre is filled with cobbled lanes, which are lined with cafes and restaurants. One of the more well known lanes is Hosier, famous for the changing street art rather than coffees, on one of our trips into Melbourne we took a wander down the lane and like many other tourists and photographers admired the surrounding artwork.

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